Kenya rated top market for dollar deals in region

The Kenyan market has one of the most stable prices in eastern and southern Africa with the dollar value of items increasing by small margins compared to peers in the region.

The Harmonised Consumer Price Indices (HCPIs) report released by the Comesa secretariat on Friday indicates that Kenya’s inflation for the year to June stood at only 1.9 per cent.

The country is the bloc’s third most stable market after Mauritius where the dollar value of goods and services was unchanged over the period, and the Democratic Republic of Congo which recorded year-on-year inflation of 0.6 per cent.

Unlike Kenya’s shilling-based Consumer Price Indices (cost of living measure) which puts the country’s inflation rate in the year to June at 7.03 per cent, the HCPIs figures submitted to the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa are prepared to track monetary inflation.

The aggregated Comesa HCPIs are calculated as weighted averages of each country’s total household expenditure converted to a common currency supplied by the African Development Bank and the World Bank.

Going by latest Comesa HCPIs figures, inflation for the whole Comesa bloc stood at 9.2 per cent in the year to June, down from 10.9 per cent registered in the year to May 2015.

“It means that using a particular or common currency, an item that cost an average of 100 cents in June 2014 increased to 109.20 cents in June 2015,” Comesa said in a statement.

By comparison, the dollar value of goods fell by 8.9 per cent in Burundi, 5.4 per cent in Uganda, 2.7 per cent in Rwanda and 2.8 per cent in Zimbabwe.

Malawi was the region’s market with most unstable prices, having recorded a harmonised inflation of 23.5 per cent followed by Sudan at 21.9 per cent.

In what highlights a common trend across the region to maximise sin taxes, the price of alcoholic beverage and tobacco recorded the highest increases of 24.6 per cent, followed by education at 19.6 per cent with hotel and restaurants coming in third at 12.9 per cent.

Kenya accounts for 6.65 per cent of the Comesa HCPIs weight, Egypt 58.71 per cent, Sudan 8.93 per cent, Uganda 4.08 per cent, Burundi 0.47 per cent and Rwanda 1.32 per cent.

The stability of prices in the Kenyan market boost its chances of becoming a region investment hub. Last year, Kenya exported goods worth Sh170 billion to Comesa and imported Sh60.4 billion goods.